Jammu jail staff booked for misappropriating old coins

Jammu, June 19 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch on Friday registered an FIR against a former jail superintendent and other staffers for misappropriating medieval era coins, belonging to period of Muhammad Ghauri, Balban and Allauddin Khilji, found in the jail premises.

“Crime Branch, Jammu has registered an FIR against Rajni Sehgal, then superintendent of Kot-Bhalwal Jail, and Havaldars Ravi Kumar, Mohan Lal and Suman Kumar for misappropriation of unusual metallic objects (107 ancient coins) found inside the premises,” a police statement said.

It said the case was registered after a communication from the home department along with the recommendations of the director general of prisons, seeking a thorough probe into the recovery of the coins and their subsequent alleged misappropriation by the jail staff.

The crime branch said during preliminary verification, jail inmates, while digging in the jail premises in September 2012 found 450 to 500 metallic objects, packed in an earthen pot covered with a lid, and the objects, on rubbing, were found to glitter.

“The broken pieces of this earthen pot together with the recovered metallic objects were thereafter handed over to Havaldar Ravi Kumar and Mohan Lal who wrapped all these items in a piece of newspaper and presented them to jail superintendent Rajni Sehgal and all the inmates were told to return to their barracks,” it said.

It added that the news got leaked and higher authorities ordered an internal inquiry in November 2012, before which jail staffers Ravi Kumar, Mohan Lal and Suman Kumar, on the instruction/directions of Sehgal, approached the inmates and threatened them that “if they revealed the truth regarding the actual date and quantity of the recovered objects, a red entry shall be made in their records which shall hamper their release”.

“The inmates were also tutored to depose that the objects were recovered in the month of November 2012 near Diwali and not in September, 2012 and were about 100 in number and not 450/500.”

The Crime Branch said it was found during the enquiry that the objects were actually currency coins used during the regime of Muhammad Ghauri, Balban, Alauddin Khilji and contained both gold as well as copper.

It said Sehgal “deliberately and intentionally” remained mum and did not inform her senior Officers or the district magistrate concerned about the recovery as required under the Treasure Trove Act, and it was only after the enquiry ordered by the prison department that she disclosed the recovery but gave the wrong time and quantity by preparing “fake and forged records”.

It said this was all by Sehgal with the “active connivance” of her subordinates Mohan Lal, Ravi Kumar and Suman Kumar “in order to keep the senior formations in the dark and misappropriate the precious and ancient treasure”.

It said all these have been charged under the relevant sections of the Ranbir Penal Code and the Treasures Trove Act, 1954 and a case registered and a probe taken up.

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